?Rhian Brewster has lifted the lid on the ‘disgusting’ experiences of racism he has endured within his short career in football, and also explained why he switched ?Chelsea for ?Liverpool.
The 18-year-old World Cup Golden Boot winner with the England U-17s has had a meteoric rise throughout his youth career, where his move to Liverpool – where he ?recently committed his long-term future – has set him on course to make his mark in the senior ranks.
However, before his time with the Reds Brewster was a leading talent at Chelsea’s academy and was showing all the signs of yet another diamond found by the Blues’ scouting department.
Yet, in an exclusive interview with? Joe.Co.Uk’s Melissa Reddy, Brewster reveals that at 14-years-old he came to the realisation that the pathway at Stamford Bridge – or lack there of – was not conducive to his dreams of making it on the grand stage, unlike Liverpool.
He said: “There were some unbelievable youngsters at the academy. It became clear that the problem was opportunities and that they weren’t being made available, even to guys we thought would 100 per cent move up.
“I thought ‘Okay I think I’m good enough, but do they actually believe I am good enough to eventually make it in the first team?’ At the time, I didn’t see any signs that it was possible to push for that with any player there, so the question sort of answered itself.
“I didn’t want to leave because I’d been there for so long, I did love Chelsea and they played a big part in my early development. I was enjoying my time there and I made so many friends for life. I knew that it wasn’t about what was comfortable and the easy option, but what was best for me.
“I looked at a lot of clubs and their plans, but Liverpool stood out to me. I liked their approach to development and things just felt right. They were the best choice for me then and they still are now.
“I’m very glad I took the decision, that I was clear in my thinking. So many people were saying it’s a big thing for a kid to consider, but I didn’t look at it like that.
“I knew I wanted to be a professional footballer, I knew it wouldn’t be a smooth journey and I was determined to do whatever was necessary to put me on the right path,” he added.
As determined as Brewster is on the field, its matched by his off-field mission to tackle racism – an issue which he continues to shine a light on after a ?multitude of experiences of abuse either personally or towards a teammate.
“There are some idiots out there, who don’t want to open their minds and who are very backward and wrong in their thinking,” Brewster said. “You want to hope that it doesn’t happen again, but it probably will and we need to be stronger in stamping it out of the game.
“When you look at it, the people that have said racist things to try and make us feel bad about ourselves aren’t from mixed teams.
“Spartak Moscow, for example, and Spain U-17. Sevilla neither. The individuals being racist are the ones who should feel bad. They’ve sadly not been educated well enough and are still stuck in an unacceptable way of thinking.”
Asked if trying to show restraint when being racially abused is the most challenging aspect of his career to date, he added: “Absolutely. You honestly just want to knock them out. It’s disgusting to speak to a fellow human being like that and it takes a lot of discipline to try and hold in your emotions.
“If you react, you put yourself in a situation where you get banned and it reflects badly on you too.
“We’ve unfortunately got to learn to deal with it – which we really shouldn’t have to and I’ll never accept being treated like that – but it’s important to try and rise above their behaviour. It says more about them than anyone else.”